HAI e-Newsletter

Each month, HAI members receive an e-Newsletter with news and updates. The e-Newsletters listed below have had some content relating to HAI Board of Directors and Annual General Meetings removed.

If any member is not receiving the HAI newsletter or the magazine, please contact the Administrator by email or phone.

March 2017 e-Newsletter


e-Newsletter March 2017
First Sunday Meeting 5 March 2017
 The HAI have a long and proud tradition of campaigning for equality
for the Non-Religious. More recently a (re) gathering has taken place
of new and existing volunteers to work on those campaigns prioritized
by the HAI membership at 2015/2016 Strategic Plan workshops.
This year’s campaigns include: Baptismal Certificate campaign –
Blasphemy – Dignity in Dying – Employment Act Section 37.1 –
Oaths & Affirmations – Repeal the 8th.
We are actively restarting our Education Campaigns Team and
encouraged by the support received – at the meeting we will give an
update on the recent Equate Conference where speakers included the
Minister for Education Richard Bruton, TD and Professors John
Coolahan and Karin Fischer.
The March 5th Meeting is a chance to re-introduce ourselves, share
plans for 2017, gather membership feedback, seek your assistance and
support, with opportunity for new campaign volunteer sign-up on the
day! Read More ...

December 2016 e-Newsletter

Gratitude Walk on Christmas Day in the Phoenix Park
One of our members, Emma Sides, and her husband, Joseph Little are organising what they are calling a Gratitude Walk on Christmas Day in the Phoenix Park. The idea is that, hopefully!, a group of people will meet at 11am in the Phoenix Park (beside the entrance to the Zoo) and then walk up as far as the Áras and back again. 
Emma Sides says:
Depending on numbers at some point we will stop and take time to share some of the things we are grateful for – ie our health, living in a safe country, a roof over our heads, not having the in-laws this year, our friends, our families, etc etc.

This is not an official HAI event – but may be of interest to HAI members who would like to do something in the spirit of ‘community’ on Christmas Day. It’s not a specifically non-religious event either but open to anyone who wants to come and join us and who wishes to stop for a moment and give thanks – whether that be to the universe or to God. 
Media & Publicity Group Update

Left to right: Áine Crawley, Amanda Wilkinson, Gerry Wilson, Lena Zwolak and Steve Rawson
The Media & Publicity Group, now known as the M & P Group, is happy to welcome its newest member Lena Zwolak. Lena supports Kilda Taylor in producing the monthly newsletter and offers support in IT.

Read More…

November 2016 e-Newsletter

The Ceremonies Management Committee will be selecting candidates for training as HAI Celebrants during 2017 and invite applications from HAI members suited to the role…
The qualities needed for the role of celebrant include an ability to relate well to people, an empathetic nature and good judgement…read more
 e-Newsletter Oct Celebrants
New Group: Since the call for volunteers last May, the Media and Publicity Group has grown in numbers and strength with September’s meeting attracting nine members…read more


October 2016 e-Newsletter

 Tens of thousands marched on Dáil Éireann on the 24th of September in support of a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment representing a wide spectrum of our society. The HAI were represented in the march by a contingent of members.  Read more…  MarchForChoiceHAI Photo
 The Humanist Times, the new voice for the non-religious in Ireland was officially launched at the Third Space in Smithfield Square on Wednesday 14th September. Read more…  HAI TimesLaunch

 September 2016 e-Newsletter

 The Summer School – Humanism and the Climate Crisis – was truly our most successful and important joint collaboration to date.  The speakers were varied and gave a rich and nuanced perspective on the huge topic of Climate Change.There were close to 100 participants over both days from our joint memberships and visitors, and the organisers were very happy with the event ……read more  SSPhotoAt2016
 The HAI Family Support Group met met in the cafe at IMMA on 21 August. Some had travelled quite a distance from Meath, Louth and Kildare but found it liberating to be amongst like minded parents. Read more ….  FamilyGroupPHoto

August 2016 e-Newsletter

 This year the All Ireland Summer School will focus on Humanism and Climate Change and discuss how we can expect increasing conflicts over diminishing resources such as oil, land and water …..Read more  SliderSummerSchool2016MarchVersion
 The Humanist Association of Ireland has joined more than 50 organisations in calling for the repeal of the 8th amendment which has impeded appropriate legislation in this area….. Read more

 July 2016 e-Newsletter

 The HAI inaugural appearance at Dublin Pride was complete with placards, Rainbow flags, face paint & specially commissioned Happy human rainbow ribbons. Our modest contingent of enthusiastic LGBTQ allies and supporters from the HAI got an enthusiastic reception from the good-humoured and colourful crowds which lined the streets and other parade participants gave us a thumbs-up of recognition and support.  Read more …
 Dublin Gay Pride
The inaugural Quarterly Conference of regional groups was held in the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise, on the afternoon of Saturday 25th June. The conference objective was to commence the implementation of the Strategic PlanThe conference dealt with fundamental issues, such as considerations of geographical division and organisation, as well as guides for new groups, supports for existing groups. Read more …  Regional Conference July e-newsletter

 June 2016 e-Newsletter

 Same Sex Marriage – One Year On.Humanist Same-Sex Weddings – One Year On! ….. it was a source of great joy to us, and in particular to the HAI celebrants, when the referendum was passed. Read more  SameSexMarriageOneYearOneENews
 Coding, Kids and Creativity: A presentation and demonstration on how teaching computer programming (coding) to younger learners enhances their reasoning ability and adapts their creativity for a digital age.  FSMJune2016FacebookImageWihCat

May 2016 e-Newsletter

  Síle Headen, HAI Chair and Oisin Carey spoke at the Interfaith Service at the Remembrance Wall, Glasnevin Cemetery.  Read more…  GlasnevinMayE-Newsletter
 First Sunday Meeting May 1, Shakespeare and Humanism.  Our speaker, Brian McClinton, will begin with the Renaissance idea of a ‘Humanist’. Humanism as a philosophy did not exist as such, but ‘Humanists’ did. How is Renaissance ‘Humanism’ similar to and perhaps different from our own? Read more…  Maye-NewsletterShakespeare


April 2016 e-Newsletter

 – Census 2016:  We ask if you don’t practise a religion, ‘Tick No Religion’  SliderCensusWithborder
 -HAI publish their Five Year Strategic Plan. Read more about this …..  HAI_StrategicReview_WebSlider



 March 2016 e-Newsletter

 – Philomena McAteer and Siobhán Ward, Trinity College will speak on their role is to manage all aspects of the donation of bodies to the Medical School …..  SliderBodyDonation
 – Tina Storey reports on the first Interbelief Dialogue Day in Contemporary Ireland on behalf of the HAI. It was hosted by Mary Immaculate College (MIC) in Limerick …  Interbelief Dialogue

 February 2016 e-Newsletter

 Colin White of The Irish Kidney Association is our speaker at our First Sunday Meeting on February 7th.  He will speak about altruism in relation to organ failure/ donation/ transplantation.  Read more ….  SliderFSMFeb16Kidney
Darwin was a keen botanist, and relied heavily on botany to develop his ideas.  Our Darwin Day talk will explore how plants and people influenced him ….  SliderDARWIN2016#2


January 2016 e-Newsletter

Click above  to see full Newsletter

 – HAI Campagins 2015. A huge thanks to all our supporters!  YearEnd2015
 – Chaplaincy Conference in Utrecht: On 18th – 22nd November 2015, An All-Ireland Humanist Group from HAI and HumaNI attended a conference on Humanist Chaplaincy in Utrecht, The Netherlands.The aim of the conference was to exchange and enhance knowledge on Humanist Chaplaincy…. Read more in newsletter  UtrechtConfJan06e-Newsletter




December 2015 e-Newsletter

Let me in! South-East Humanists are organising a demonstration to mark International Human Rights Day on  December 10th outside Leinster House at 16:00.The theme of the protest is Let Me In! which draws a parallel between children unable to enter their local National School, and the non-religious being excluded from some state jobs. Read more…  enewsDec2015Boy
December 6, First Sunday Meeting.  Come along and help us celebrate the season with coffee, chat and seasonal readings … SliderXmas2015


November 2015 e-Newsletter

 – Protest march against school discrimination: On Sunday 25th October, a march from Dáil Éireann to the Department of Education was organised and led by Roopesh Panicker. Roopesh is an Irish citizen of Indian extraction, a member of HAI since June, who is discriminated against by the Irish State……  e-newsletterNovSchoolProtest
 – Persecution, conflict, generalized violence, and human rights violations have now formed a ‘nation of the displaced’ that, if they were a country, would make up the 24th largest in the world. A refugee is a person who is forced to leave their country owing to ………..read more in newsletter

October 2015 e-Newsletter


– SiobhSiobhanScotlandE-NewsOct15an Walls, Chair of HAI, I received and was delighted to accept an invitation to attend the Humanist Society Scotland (HSS) Annual Conference on Sunday September 27th. The day started at the Royal Society of Edinburgh building – shortly before 9am. The first person I met was CEO, Gordon MacRae …………. Read more

SS2015RuthDudleyEdwardsRead about the 2015 HAI Summer School.  Amongst the speakers was Historian, novelist and journalist, Ruth Dudley Edwards, (pictured right) considered the question, ‘Are we awakening from Ireland’s violent past?’ ……

September 2015 e-Newsletter

-Education Equality is a newly established organisation formed in August 2015 with the purpose of promoting fair and equal treatment for all children and parents throughout the educational system. The group was formed with the specific aim of combatting religious discrimination in education, read more …

The topic for discussion for our September meeting is Transgender in Ireland. Our speaker will be Broden Giambrone (Chief Executive) of Transgender Equality Network Ireland. TENI seeks to improve conditions and advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families … read more … SliderAugTransgender2015




August 2015 e-Newsletter

e-Newsletter Aug15 PacificistsShould Humanists be Pacifists? Oisin Carey of the HAI writes that it often seems to humanists and other sceptics of religion that religious people have had it easy.  Thanks to their sacred books filled with the presumed words of the Creator of the Universe (at least for Christians, Jews, and Muslims), for a long time it looked like there was no need to think too deeply about questions of morality…

SS Slider Updated 2014 HAI Summer School August 29th to 30th: The topic for this year’s school is ‘Humanism, War and Peace’. Check out the newsletter for details of speakers…

– First Sunday Meeting August 2nd, Shane Downer of ArcAdoption speaks on adoption in Ireland, particularly inter-country adoption.


July 2015 e-Newsletter

– The Humanist Association of Ireland was delighted to be invited to a conference e-newsletterJuly15Climateon Climate Justice held at NUI Maynooth on 22nd and 23rd of June in conjunction with Trócaire. The conference was titled ‘Meeting the Challenge of Climate Justice: From Evidence to Action’ and Mary Robinson was amongst the speakers……..


Slider June revised‘Lets Do Philosophy in Schools’ was the topic for the June First Sunday Meeting. Gary Doyle described himself as a volunteer offering workshops in philosophy for schools. He began his presentation with an exercise that he uses in schools, namely to state how many objects make up ‘Pencil Person’……………..

– ‘Big Questions For Kids’ is a new book has been published that explains Humanism at primary school level:  What is Humanism? How do you live without a god? And Other Big Questions for Kids

June 2015 e-Newsletter

– Ireland first to adopt Marriage Equality by popular vote…..HAI_MarriageEqualityCelebration

-Educate together to change its charter for schools from ‘multi-demoninational’ to ‘equality based’. Read more …

– Becoming a Celebrant. There is a huge amount of interest from members and would-be members who would like to train as Humanist celebrants…

May 2015 e-Newsletter

Family Day–  This year, the HAI is taking a stand at the Family Day Festival which will take place in Wolfe Tone Square between 11.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. on 17th May. The day celebrates all kinds of families …

– The Religion Question in the Census: One of the tasks which the HAI has undertaken is to lobby the CSO to change the religion question in the census. The question, as it currently stands, reads. “What is your religion?” The HAI feels this questions fails not only because it presupposes everyone has a religion, but also because it is ambiguous as to what constitutes having a religion….

– Willie Collins chaired the April First Sunday Meeting.  The topic under discussion was Education and there was discussion on our HAI Baptism Campaign, the Forum on Pluralism and the HAI visiting programme.  Read more….



April 2015 e-Newsletter

HAI Baptism Campaign_Poster_SocialMedia– Posters have been placed in prominent locations, including bus shelters, train stations and shopping centres, to highlight the injustice of schools’ admission policies, which discriminate against children who are not baptised …

– A report on the First Sunday March meeting – Willie Collins who is a specialist in Addiction at Wharton House spoke about about alcohol addiction in Ireland. From 2004 to 2012,   between poisoning and the direct consequences of taking drugs,  5,289 people died…

– Darwin Day was celebrated in Dublin in Trinity College.  Professor Pete Coxon reviewed the state of knowledge about ice ages in Darwin’s time (mid-19th century) and how it has progressed since then. ..

March 2015 e-Newsletter:

HAI delegation Taoiseach 2007–  Contrary to what has recently been reported, the first meeting between an atheist group and the government actually took place in 2007 when Bertie Ahern was Taoiseach.  It would take five years and another government to get legal status for humanist marriages …

– Now you can join the HAI online, our new system has gone live …

– Report on the talk at our February First Sunday Meeting given by Moninne Griffith, Director of Marriage Equality, on her campaign to give same sex couples the right to marry …


February 2015 e-Newsletter:

IMG_6275– The HAI had a good meeting with the Taoisech and Jan O’Sullivan the Minister for Education and Science, as part of the Structured Dialogue Process (with religious and secular organisations) on 29th January …..

– Darwin Day is celebrated in Trinity College Dublin and the Malone Lodge Hotel, Belfast…..

– The Ashling Hotel is our new venue for First Sunday Meetings from next month…


January 2015 e-Newsletter

Rememberance Jan15– The  Humanist Chaplaincy pay a tribute of remembrance to our deceased members, and to the loss by members of family and friends. At the conclusion of the remembrance, we will have a discussion about how we as Humanists support people in loss, bereavement and death…

– HAI donate €6,OOO to Focus Ireland Crisis Intervention Support Programme…

– Read our literary and film reviews which also has an article by David Williams on Climate change…


 December 2014 e-Newsletter

Siobhan Walls– RTE  made a documentary following HAI Chairperson, Siobhán Walls,  as she trains to become a Humanist celebrant under the guidance of Director of Ceremonies, Brian Whiteside. We find out what it takes to become a Humanist Celebrant and what Humanist ceremonies are all about…

– Chaplaincy News: Norma McElligott, Humanist Chaplain, and Nic Johnson attended the second of the HSE Chaplaincy Council meetings, the HSE has now undertaken to work on a definition of a chaplain. See more …..


November 2014 e-Newsletter

Dick Spicer Galway 21st– HAI celebrate 21 years in Ireland by having a conference in Galway.  The theme was Education – to  provide a genuine choice in primary education for all residents of all faiths and none throughout the country…

– Helen Byrne from University Dublin spoke at the October First Sunday Meeting.  The topic was Mindfulness, teaching us how to avoid daily distractions  and concentrate on the essentials…

– Joe Armstrong, HAI Celebrant, reports on his attendance at the ‘Think Equality, Act Equality’ Conference at Dublin Castle on October 14th.  No person should be discriminated against be they an immigrant, LBGT or physically disabled in the work place…

– Ellen Sides and Eithne Dempsey of the HAI were invited to Education Together National School, Skerries to talk to a group of 40 or so Educate Together  teachers on Humanism in general, our ceremonies and chaplaincy…


October 2014 e-Newsletter

Humanism Stand GPO Sept 2014– On a sunny Saturday morning, Eithne Dempsey, pictured with members (left to right) Arthur Deeny, Oisín Carey, Brendan Maher and Fachtna Roe, set up the new HAI stand at the GPO. Previously the HAI had shared a stand, but since September we have a stand ourselves on the third Saturday of each month from 12.00 to 2.00.  Join us …….



hai2– The HAI is celebrating its 21st Birthday with a conference on primary education in Galway, asking if the system is fit for the 21st century …..



n the third Saturday of every month time between 12.00 and 2.00 p.m. – See more at: http://humanism.ie/events/taking-a-stand/#sthash.Rg1h4qhN.dpuf
n the third Saturday of every month time between 12.00 and 2.00 p.m. – See more at: http://humanism.ie/events/taking-a-stand/#sthash.Rg1h4qhN.dpuf




– Report from the HAI Summer School in Carlingford in August.  The theme was Humanism and Sexuality with speakers Peter Tatchell (pictured), Diana Brown, Roy Brown and Tom Inglis.  See more ………peter tatchell





HAI e-Newsletter September 2014

 – Report on August’s First Sunday Meeting: ‘How Humanists Deal with Life Crises’. The discussion focused on end-of-life issues and funeral rites in particular. The principal questions were how to ensure that you get the tWorld Humanist Assemblyype of funeral/memorial/celebration you want ….
– Report on the World Humanist Congress held in Oxford.  The theme this year was Freedom of Expression.  It is hard to do justice to such an event in a few words! We were not only engaged by the thought-provoking speakers: there was entertainment in the form of a splendid energetic dancing orchestra, Indian dancers, a comedy artist and Humanist choirs…
– The two-day annual General Assembly (GA) took place either side of the World Congress. IHEU is a relatively small organisation considering the work it does, and, more importantly, what it hopes to do. It was fantastic to see so many countries represented here and at the Congress; peoples who struggle against odds we can only wish never to have to fight against…


HAI e-Newsletter August, 2014

Mrs-Justice-Catherine-McGuinness– Judge Catherine McGuinness,  Chair of the National Council of the Forum on End-of-Life, gave a talk on the Think Ahead concept.  Most people prefer to die in their own homes surrounded by their friends and family; however most people actually die in hospital, often surrounded by noisy machines and busy medical and nursing staff. Judge McGuinness spoke of the need to allow people to die at home…



National Day of Commemoration– The Humanist Association of Ireland received an invitation to The National Day of Commemoration held on July 13th at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin. This occasion is held on an annual basis in honour of all those Irishmen and Irishwomen who died in past wars or on service with the United Nations




HAI e-Newsletter July 2014

Newlyweds– The Humanist Association of Ireland celebrants will not be conducting wedding ceremonies outdoors until further notice. This is in response to a requirement, imposed on us by the General Register Office and by some local registrars, that all solemnisation ceremonies must take place indoors, in a building…

– Local Humanist Groups: If you are living outside Dublin, the HAI have loca groups who get together in Cork, North Coast, Mid West, Offaly/Carlow/Kilkenny/Laois/Kildare …..

– All Ireland Humanist Summer School 2014.  This year’s theme is Humanism and Sexuality, and the speakers are Peter Tatchell, Roy Brown, Diana Brown and Tom Inglis.   The programme is as follows…


HAI e-Newsletter June 2014

Joe Armstrong & Taoiseach Nat Famine Comm– Joe Armstrong, Humanist Chaplain and Celebrant, represented the HAI at the National Famine Memorial Day Commemoration in Strokestown, County Roscommon, on 11th May 2014 attended by AnTaoiseach. Joe read a poem he had written entitled ‘Famine’: Famine. Famine. Can I imagine it? /Famine. Either a feast or a famine./
Feasts I know. But famine? 
Read more …..

– Publication of Bill to Eliminate Discrimination against People with Disabilities. Senator Katherine Zappone’s new Bill, Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) (Amendment) Bill 2014, was published on 13th May. The purpose of the Bill is to reform the sexual offenses law to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities…...


Proinsias de Rossa– At the First Sunday Meeting May 2014 Proinsias De Rossa, who was an MEP for 15 years, spoke on his theme of ‘The European Commission is not God — Why the Next European Commission President needs to be a Humanist’. The EU has been a significant driver of advances in human rights generally, including the rights of those with a secular philosophy ……..



HAI e-Newsletter May 2014

joe armstrong– These are some of the quotes compiled by HAI Joe Armstrong for an International Humanist News item: ‘In 13 countries atheists are considered criminals punishable in law by death‘; ‘Religion is ultimately about power and domination’ …

– Director of the Humanist Chaplaincy Nic Johnson made a presentation on The Way Forward for the Humanist Chaplaincy at the April First Sunday Meeting.  The topics included a history of the chaplaincy, its recent achievements, funding issues and plans for the future…



HAI e-Newsletter April 2014

Taoiseach Office– Chairperson Siobhán Walls, and Director of Ceremonies, Brian Whiteside attended a meeting in the Department of the Taoiseach on March 31st as part of the Structured Dialogue Process with Government.  The following topics were discussed: religious oaths, education, chaplaincy, the census ………..

– RTE’s programme The Moment of Truth has contacted the HAI.  Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh says they  are looking for people from all walks of life to tell their stories of the life changing and often difficult decisions they’ve made…

– New local group for Cork …


HAI e-Newsletter March 2014

Kevin_Mitchell_image– Kevin Mitchell of Genetics & Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin  was our speaker and he gave a talk entitled On discovering you’re an android: neuroscientific materialism and the mind-brain relationship.


– HAI 21st Birthday Celebration!! Mark the date, October 10th to 12th at the Salthill Hotel,Galway…

– “Drab as a Humanist Funeral” – RTE apologise for this remark, made on the programme The Living Word’ …


HAI e-Newsletter February 2014

Darwin– HAI Darwin Day lecture will be given by Dr Nicola Marples, Department of Zoology and Fellow of Trinity College. Entitled Altruism and the Oddity of Humans the lecture begins at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 12th February, in the JM Synge Theatre, Trinity College, Dublin…

– The HAI was invited by the Secretary of the Convention on the Constitution to submit a letter to its members on our views on where the Church and State issue should go from here …

– News Bites: Humanism on Coronation Street; What do Atheists Tell Their Children?…..


HAI e-Newsletter January 2014

David McConnell HAI– HAI’s Honorary President, David McConnell. spoke on The Enlightenment and The Founding Fathers in the United States and Ireland at our November 3rd First Sunday Meeting.  In this facinating lecture, he reveals that before the enlightenment, the church dictated the thoughts, actions and lifestyles of the ordinary person…….

– A letter of condolence was sent by the Humanist Chaplaincy on behalf of the HAI to Tom Curran on the death of his partner Marie Fleming. Marie lost her legal case in the Supreme Court for the right for assistance to die because of suffering from MS…..
– HAI Ceremonies Grow: With Humanist weddings now having legal status, the number of weddings performed by HAI-accredited celebrants in 2013 soared to 410…….